We woke up after a great night’s sleep and gathered for breakfast. We are staying in the visitor’s house in the grounds of NPH and are on the second floor where we catch a little welcome breeze. The grounds of the NPH property are about 50 acres and around 150 children live here with their “Tias” (house mothers) and many volunteers and staff members.
Today was a very special day at NPH Dominican Republic as NPH is celebrating its 65th birthday and today is “Father Wasson ” day. Fr. Wasson began the whole organization which is now in 9 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. The day began with Mass with all the children.
At the Mass certain NPH staff were honored including one of the Tia’s who has worked here for many years. It was very moving to see the great love that the children had for her. The university aged young men who had been with her as young children were in tears as she came forward to be honored. It is so beautiful to witness the love of family here and to see the face of God so visible in the children and their carers.
After Mass we had a quick tour of the home. The children live in family groups in houses with their Tias. The houses include siblings so the ages are mixed. One of the many great things about NPH is that they make every effort to keep siblings together when they are no longer able to live with their families.
There is also a clinic which looks after the medical needs of the children. The clinic is also used for children from neighboring Haiti who need radiation treatment which they can receive in Santo Domingo. NPH houses these children and their families whilst they are receiving this treatment. There is also a dentist and psychologist working from the clinic. Most of the medications and medical supplies are donated from medical teams who come to serve the surrounding communities. Below is the courtyard in the center of the clinic and its entrance.
The rest of the day was busy with celebration in the park where we made some new friends.
One of the most popular games of the afternoon for the children was trying to climb a 20ft greased pole to try to open a bag containing candy and a bag of pesos which was tied to the top of the pole. You can see that they came up with some inventive ways to try to reach the top!
…….. and yes they did get to the top !
Today was a day of great celebration for all and we have found many ways to communicate and share joy with the children here.
We have eaten a great meal again this evening including delicious papaya and mango. After dinner we got to spend some time on the roof of the visitor house where the air is cool and the stars are beautiful. Each evening we reflect on our day and pray as a group and as you can imagine there are strong bonds forming as we experience so much together.
We will check in with you again tomorrow!
You have all been in our prayers every day.